Medical Definition of Toasted skin syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Toasted skin syndrome: A popular term for a hyperpigmented skin rash that appears after exposure to heat, such as from heating pad use or from holding a laptop computer on the thighs while working. The rash has been associated with several different types of heat sources that are warm enough to alter the local temperature of the skin but not hot enough to cause burns. The appearance of the rash has been described as red to brown and having a mottled or reticulate (net-like) pattern. The reason for the development of the rash is not known, but alterations in blood flow to the warmed body areas may play a role.

Concerns have been raised about potential association of laptop computer or video game console use with skin cancer or infertility in men (due to elevated scrotal temperatures). To date, none of these associations have been proven, but some experts recommend the use of a cooling pad when holding a laptop computer on the lap.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.